This Just In: How Ryan's faith guides his policies

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print
Dan Plutchak | May 15, 2015

After Rep. Paul Ryan was named Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely candidate in 2016, had a few words of advice for his fellow Wisconsinite.

"And occasionally there's going to be someone who reaches out and says they're praying for you," Walker is quoted as saying in a recent New York Times article. "And that's not a throwaway line. Nobody says that if they don't mean it. You need to literally reach out and touch them so you feel the power of that prayer."

The profile in the Times, "Wisconsin, Politics and Faith Bind Scott Walker and Paul Ryan," explored the relationship between Wisconsin's two most famous politicians currently in office.

In an interview May 11, 2015 in Delavan, Wisconsin, Ryan elaborated on how is personal faith and policy are intertwined.

Ryan, a Catholic, is a member of St. John Vianney Church in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. He attends the church a few blocks from his home each Sunday when he's home from Washington, D.C. and is quick to lend a hand with the other parishioners.

Last Sunday, Ryan helped sell baskets of flowers to help fund his daughter's class trip next year.

His fellow parishioners are quick to ask their celebrity politician to fill in when they're short an usher to help with the collections.

Although Ryan is viewed nationally as a conservative superstar, he comes from a city with traditional Democratic and labor leanings, and he has broadened his view on religion in politics accordingly.

Ryan says that the Catholic Church can accommodate a wide scope of approaches to the same difficult social issues.

"The Catholic Church has a big wake behind it of different ways in which to go about trying making people's lives better," Ryan said. "That's why you have people from the left and from the right both comfortably within the Catholic Church."

As a public official, Ryan says he doesn't go out of his way to wear his faith on his sleeve. He says his faith and his approach to policy decision are inseparable when it comes to using his judgment.

At town hall meetings that Ryan regularly holds throughout the district, he occasionally is challenged that his policy views are at odds with traditional church teachings, particularly in service to the poor, but Ryan feels comfortable that his views fit comfortably within church teaching.

He says his faith brings him to believe in the Constitution, free enterprise, upward mobility and individual liberty.

"Those are a manifestations of the founders principals, which I think are perfectly in keeping with Catholic social teaching," Ryan said. "A person from the left would probably say it differently and have a different conclusion but both of those are accommodated by the Catholic Church."

"I do it the way I see it," he said. "Daily, I think about it I pray about it."

Monday: Ryan's advice to Republicans: Be willing to lose

Tuesday: So far only a hope, not a plan, for Obamacare

Thursday: Why Obama is getting cozy with Republicans on international trade

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print